September 23, 2019
Annie Dee is a FarmHer focused on sustainability. Raised in a family connected to agriculture she went to college with a focus on agriculture when there weren’t a lot of women pursuing the field. After college she went further south to Florida to work cattle at some land that her dad owned. The next move was back up to Alabama when the family made the decision to move the entire farming operation back north. Once in Alabama and with Annie in a more active role, along with her younger brother Mike, they set out to work on the soil. The ground at their new farm wasn’t the best and Annie was told it never would be. With that catalyst, she set out to improve the soil health and she has done just that. She was a pioneer in planting cover crops and using no-till farming practices and over the decades have seen increasingly healthy soil, full of biodiversity.
My trip to the Dee River Ranch started out like many trips down a country road do…at the wrong place. The crew and I followed the wrong map and wound up in the middle of a field. Lucky us, a nice farmer who was out mowing hay found us at the entrance to his field and set us on the right path to meet Annie. Once we made it to Dee River we were ready for the day to start. Following a delicious lunch of grilled steak (complete with some secret and tasty sauce) we set out to go check out the various parts of the farm, starting at the reservoir. I didn’t quite believe my eyes as we rounded a corner and the water came into sight. Annie’s son, daughter-in-law and their kids had come along and the kids took me out on the dock to show me the abundant fish that live in the lake. Aside from providing some pretty great recreation for the family, the Dees built a levy and the resulting reservoir for a reason. With this new system, they could catch the rainwater in a REALLY BIG WAY.
They then installed pumps coming out of the reservoir that are specialized to only turn on if needed in an effort to conserve energy. From there we went down to a lower field of corn and Annie explained how those pumps send the water out to the various irrigation pivots. They use an advanced system that shows them where and when water is needed and can control the irrigation with the touch of a button on their phone.
My day at Dee River Ranch was a unique one. From getting to meet and enjoy Annie and her family, who are so very committed to their operation to seeing the advanced technology and conservation methods they use, Annie and her farm are one for the record books!
See more about Annie Dee here!
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